Pieces from pieces

Although nearly all my paintings are based on the Scottish upland landscape I do like to try and find new ways of interpreting it. I’ve spent nearly all of the last week working on an 80 x 80 cm canvas in oil.  It’s quite a loose piece and I’ve just used the large horse hair house painting brush to create the marks on it. 

Work in progress, February 14 2014 - Oil on Canvas

Work in progress, February 14 2014 – Oil on Canvas

The starting point for the piece was a section of a painting I did several years ago about the peaks of the Blackmount, in particular Clach Leath and it’s wonderful southern face that always seems to catch the snow .  In the winter months it stands out from most vantage points to the east, especially as you drive across the edge of Rannoch Moor on the A82 and in particular from the gentle ridge of Ghlas Bheinne.  I’ve taken numerous photos of it over the years as it always grabs your attention and in spring 2012 we walked right underneath it on two occasions as we headed up the glen from Ba Bridge.

Since starting to work once again in oil on canvas, I’ve wanted to try and create much more abstract paintings.  I want them still to be about the wild Scottish landscape but in a much looser way. I’ve created a number of these oil on canvas paintings over the last couple of years and am always trying to develop them.   I decided therefore to start from a slightly different place with these new paintings ….instead of using photographs and sketches I’ve selected a section from one of my earlier paintings.  This gives me a far more abstract starting point but one that is still landscape based.

As I say, the new painting is being created using just one brush ….a large coarse haired house painting brush approximately 7 inches wide and at least an inch thick.  I’ve been building the painting up using quite thick oil paint and putting it down in rough, raw strokes and a very limited palette.  This coarse haired brush leaves fine textures in the wet paint that once dry, gives an interesting surface over which to put down the next stroke.  The painting is still not finished but I think it is starting to go in the right direction.  The problem, as always, is trying to get the balance between the need by me to create a landscape painting as well as one that is abstract too……this can so easily lead to a painting that looks false and awkward.  Oh well, I’ve just ordered a load more paint so it’s just a case of keeping on painting and hopefully learning.  That I guess, is what painting for me is all about.

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